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By the middle of September Dixon had got the
horses up from grass. Cricket matches were out of
season, but there hadn't been a spot of rain since the
end of June. Robins warbled plaintively in our apple
orchard, and time hung rather heavy on my hands.
The Weald and the wooded slopes were blue misted
on sultry afternoons when I was out for a ruminative
ride on one of my indolent hunters. Hop-picking
was over early that year and the merry pickers had
returned to the slums of London to the strains of the
concertina or accordion. I was contemplating an
expedition to the West End to order a short-skirted
scarlet coat and two pairs of white breeches from
Kipward & Son; Craxwell was to make me a pair
of boots with mahogany coloured tops. I intended
to blossom out at the opening meet as a full-fledged

The autumn was a period of impatience. I longed
for falling leaves and the first of November. The
luminous melancholy of the fine September weather
was a prelude rather than an elegy. I was only half
in love with mists and mellow fruitfulness. I did not
dread the dark winter as people do when they have
lost their youth and live alone in some great city.
Not wholly unconscious of the wistful splendour, but
blind to its significance, I waited for cub-hunting to
end. Europe was nothing but a name to me. I
couldn't even bring myself to read about it in the
daily paper. I could, however, read about cubbing
in the Midlands; it was described at some length
every week in the columns of Horse and Hound. Any
other interests I had are irrelevant to these memoirs,
and were in any case subsidiary to my ambition as a

Disapproving Mr. Pennett had left me severely